Casual Style For Dummies

How often do you sift through pictures from your past? Coming face to face with a younger version of yourself can bring all sorts of feelings to the surface. One of them is nostalgia – don’t you ever wonder what happened to the cool you in those photos?

The answers are varied: “he got married”, “he got a proper job”, “he got tired/complacent”. They’re all valid, but you don’t have to make them your destiny. Becoming that nonchalant, easy-going guy again – who looked great with minimal thought or effort – is feasible (it will just take a little more effort than before).

From t-shirts to denim, here are ten easy style tips for maturer men (although they can be applied to all ages) that will help you dress cool and casual without appearing dorky, dated or age-inappropriate – ideal for those that have lost their mojo…

1. Embrace What You Learned From Experience

As we grow older and wiser our style should improve. You probably wear a suit better than you did ten years ago. You know how to accessorise and, even if you’re not cutting-edge, there are some acquired personal quirks that identify you as an individual. Don’t lose them for the sake of cool.

If you have a classic timepiece you’re proud of, it shouldn’t be replaced with a funky rubber statement version (or iWatch) that all the kids are wearing. If you look great in navy, deep red and charcoal, don’t go neon because you saw it in that high street shop you haven’t shopped at since 1998.

This is a major douche warning: there’s nothing more pathetic than a fashion victim with Peter Pan syndrome. Acquired style stays.

For more information on this subject, take a read through our guide to choosing signature pieces.

Steve McQueen Signature PiecesSteve McQueen proved that classic signature pieces never lose their cool factor

2. Jeans Are The Epitome Of Cool At Any Age

Many of us end up in chinos for comfort reasons, or just because they are ‘dressier’ (rubbish, by the way). Nonetheless, a fitted pair of jeans will always give your look an edge that other legwear just isn’t capable of.

Go as trim as your build can take, and don’t be afraid of styles that are hot right now. There are plenty of options out there, so you’re sure to find a pair that isn’t dad-ish but also complies with the fact that you’re past your early twenties glory. Steer clear of comfort fits, highly distressed washes, rips, prominent branding and unnecessary detailing and you’ll be just fine.

The denim challenge: try to go a week chino-free, replacing yours with a well-fitting pair of jeans. Combine them with everything from tees and leather bombers to Oxford shirts and blazers. Watch for the reactions around you and let us know if there’s been any improvement in your cool factor.

Jeans Lookbook

Men's Indigo Jeans Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

suitsupply aw13sarar ss14he by mango aw13drykorn ss13farah ss14banana republic pre aw14brunello cucinelli aw14house of fraser aw14banana republic pre aw14
Key Styles
  • He By Mango Straight-fit Dark Bob JeansHe By Mango Straight-fit Dark Bob Jeans
  • Indigo & Maine Jimmy Slim Selvedge Jeans In Blue RinseIndigo & Maine Jimmy Slim Selvedge Jeans In Blue Rinse
  • Indigo & Maine Jimmy Slim Jeans In IndigoIndigo & Maine Jimmy Slim Jeans In Indigo
  • Reiss Hawbury Washed Denim Jeans BlueReiss Hawbury Washed Denim Jeans Blue
  • Loro Piana Cotton And Cashmere-lined Denim JeansLoro Piana Cotton And Cashmere-lined Denim Jeans
  • Frame Denim Lhomme Placid Slim-fit JeansFrame Denim Lhomme Placid Slim-fit Jeans
3. Basics T-shirts: Yay Or Nay?

You learned that leaving home in a shirt – or anything with a collar for that matter – is advisable, and after a certain age you shouldn’t dream of doing otherwise.

Well, what about a bit of rebellion, just like in the old days? Try swapping your crisply collared shirt for a basic t-shirt, whether it be long- or short-sleeved. They work extremely well under a blazer/coat, or solo with a pair of jeans (see above).

After age twenty-five, however, your t-shirt should fit perfectly. Not too big, and never too tight. If you feel your shape doesn’t take a thin-fabric tee gracefully anymore, alternatives include crew/v-neck cotton knits and heavy jersey Henley tops.

Extra Tip: We’re all victims of gravity after some time, so if you feel your neck is beginning to go turkey-like, a loosely tied lightweight scarf will help detract attention from it. This is also the reason why after a certain age, gents look their best in collared tops.

Basics T-Shirts Lookbook

Men's Basic T-Shirts Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

h&m basics 2014zara 2014reiss 2014he by mango 2014j crew august style guide 2014h&m spring 2013reiss ss14j crew ss14h&m style guide september 2014banana republic pre aw14reiss sports luxemassimo dutti nyc 5th avenue aw14
Key Styles
  • Next Premium Essentials Crew Neck T-shirtNext Premium Essentials Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Gap Essential Crewneck T-shirtGap Essential Crewneck T-shirt
  • Uniqlo Men Packaged Dry Colour V Neck Short Sleeve T-shirtUniqlo Men Packaged Dry Colour V Neck Short Sleeve T-shirt
  • Reiss Dayton Basic V-neck T-shirt NavyReiss Dayton Basic V-neck T-shirt Navy
  • River Island White Crew Neck T-shirtRiver Island White Crew Neck T-shirt
  • J.crew Flagstone Slim-fit Slub Cotton-jersey T-shirtJ.crew Flagstone Slim-fit Slub Cotton-jersey T-shirt
  • Reiss Donnie Pure Cotton Crew-neck Jumper BlackReiss Donnie Pure Cotton Crew-neck Jumper Black
  • Asos V-neck Jumper In CottonAsos V-neck Jumper In Cotton
  • He By Mango Textured Henley T-shirtHe By Mango Textured Henley T-shirt
4. Go Wild On The Shoe Front

If there’s one item that will hardly ever make you look ridiculous when you shop at youth-focused shops, it’s footwear.

You can embrace the minimal white/black trainers we’re seeing everywhere right now, brightly coloured running styles or even splurge on a designer fashion shoe – the good thing about the latter is that no matter how much cooler the twenty-somethings around you are, you can actually afford high-priced kicks.

Wear trainers with confidence and ditch the loafers while the look is as hot as it is now.

Feeling brave? Why not try trainers to the office on dress-down Friday?

Minimal Trainers Lookbook

Men's Minimal Trainers Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

bally ss15zara 2014selected homme ss14jaeger aw14reiss ss14primark aw14ben sherman aw141h&m style guide september 2014ami ss14
Current Styles
  • Reiss Chainey Leather Lace Pumps BlackReiss Chainey Leather Lace Pumps Black
  • He By Mango Camo-print SneakersHe By Mango Camo-print Sneakers
  • Saucony Shadow 5000 In Grey And BlueSaucony Shadow 5000 In Grey And Blue
  • Ami Mens Suede And Mesh SneakersAmi Mens Suede And Mesh Sneakers
  • Saucony X Play Cloths Strange Fruit Grey Shadow 5000 SneakersSaucony X Play Cloths Strange Fruit Grey Shadow 5000 Sneakers
  • Adidas Originals Gazelle Og TrainersAdidas Originals Gazelle Og Trainers
  • Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Low Top SneakersCommon Projects Original Achilles Leather Low Top Sneakers
  • Dolce & Gabbana Suede And Leather-panelled SneakersDolce & Gabbana Suede And Leather-panelled Sneakers
  • Valentino Camouflage-printed Leather And Canvas SneakersValentino Camouflage-printed Leather And Canvas Sneakers
5. Wear Your Basics In An Unexpected Way

Creativity and free-spirited choices may have been pushed aside as the years went by, but looking at your all-time favourites with different eyes is an important step towards regaining your cool.

Sweatshirts worn as t-shirts, with nothing underneath, denim shirts worn as jackets, a leather biker instead of your blazer, or even just a bold coloured pair of socks… look back into the taboos you broke in the past to inspire new ones.

We’d love to hear how you style yourself out of the box in the comments section below.

Creative Layering & Juxtapositions Lookbook

Men's Creative Layering & Juxtapositions Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

simonsmassimo dutti september 2014river island holloway road aw13lab pal zileri aw14ramsey ss14digel aw14hackett 2014brunello cucinelli aw14massimo dutti september 2013he by mango aw13he by mango fall 2014next aw14
6. Don’t Try To Relive The Past

Golden rule: if you rocked a look/trend the first time it came around, stay away from it the second time.

Don’t replicate what you did in your youth, but adopt new ideas. A middle-aged bloke in retro clothing just seems stuck in the past. From the fourth decade of our lives on, we’ve done enough throwbacks.

Only break this rule if you feel you do vintage with remarkable skill. You know who you are.

7. Pay Attention To Fit

It goes without saying, but everything you wear should fit properly.

When we’re lean teenagers and even a bin-bag hangs smoothly from our bodies, fit doesn’t matter quite as much as many make out. With time, however, purchasing the right size, choosing the correct cut and hitting the tailor for final alterations is essential.

I know this isn’t the cool, carefree guy you were hoping to meet again, but a slightly older gent cannot pull off the ‘sloppy kid’ forever. Sorry.

Good Fit Lookbook

Men's Well-Fitting Clothing Lookbook

massimo dutti ss13suitsupply aw13zara editions aw13hugo boss sportswear aw141zara aw12h&m style guide september 2014digel aw14banana republic pre aw14jaeger aw13avva aw14reiss aw13sanahunt ss13
8. Consider Every Detail

OK, so you bought the jeans, made peace with t-shirts and finished it off with a classic pea coat. Trainers are now firmly on your feet – but what on earth are those crooked gold-rim glasses doing on your face?

Another terrible habit of the over twenty-something crowd is sticking with functional accessories that play a major role in our overall aesthetic, ignoring what they look like. This includes bags, glasses, shades, socks, hats and even belts.

None of these should escape your sharpened eye. Hard work, isn’t it? Keep in mind those often forgotten details.

9. Leave Up To Three Items At Home

What did you wear last time you went out? Remember? Now, what if you had left the belt, jumper and socks behind? Sockless feet with your loafers, a relaxed beltless look and the ease of nothing but your shirt and a jacket.

Sometimes losing a couple of items can help you appear less stuffy. Give it a go.

Sockless, Tieless & Beltless Lookbook

Men's Sockless, Tieless & Beltless Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

sarar ss14selected homme ss14bally ss15reiss ss14burton aw14de fursac ss14banana republic pre aw14banana republic pre aw14jigsaw ss14boohoo man aw14M.Grifoni denim aw13massimo dutti june 2014
10. Some Pieces Work At All Ages

There’s a list of items that are evergreen, and work no matter what age you are.

We are just a few: minimal trainers (Converse, Supergas and Common Projects are all-time favourites), denim jackets (can’t go wrong with a classic Levi’s trucker), Ray-Ban and Persol shades (see Steve McQueen above), Clarks Originals desert boots, slim- or straight-cut jeans, a plain white tee, chambray shirts and, of course, the leather jacket.

Any ever-cool item you’d like to add to this list?

  • Levis Denim Jacket Regular Fit Trucker StonewashLevis Denim Jacket Regular Fit Trucker Stonewash
  • Reclaimed Vintage Leather Biker JacketReclaimed Vintage Leather Biker Jacket
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Chambray ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit Chambray Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-fit Polo ShirtPolo Ralph Lauren Slim-fit Polo Shirt
  • Burberry London Cotton-gabardine Trench CoatBurberry London Cotton-gabardine Trench Coat
  • Persol Steve Mcqueen Folding Acetate SunglassesPersol Steve Mcqueen Folding Acetate Sunglasses
  • Sunspel Crew Neck Cotton T-shirtSunspel Crew Neck Cotton T-shirt
  • A.p.c. Petit Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge Denim JeansA.p.c. Petit Standard Slim-fit Dry Selvedge Denim Jeans
  • Band Of Outsiders Leather Bomber JacketBand Of Outsiders Leather Bomber Jacket
  • Converse Allstar Low Leather White Mono LeatherConverse Allstar Low Leather White Mono Leather
  • Topman Clarks Original Brown Desert BootsTopman Clarks Original Brown Desert Boots
  • Gucci Horsebit Full-grain Leather LoafersGucci Horsebit Full-grain Leather Loafers
Get Involved

Now we want to hear from you. What did the younger you rock best, and what is your plan to revisit it? Anything you’d love to be able to wear with confidence again?

Let us know in the comments section below…